The next step toward a national fruit and vegetable research and promotion board — if there is one — won’t be taken with the Produce for Better Health Foundation.

The executive committee for Newark, Del.-based PBH has concluded that any decisions should be made by those most affected by the potential board, according to a foundation news release.

PBH withdraws from national promotion board discussion

From April to October, the foundation sought feedback from the fruit and vegetable industry about the potential of a national promotion board, organized with USDA oversight and funded with mandatory assessments.

After a variety of outreach efforts to the industry, PBH officials believe their role is over. More details about the campaign and an industry survey about the concept is at www.fvcampaign.org.

PBH chairman Paul Klutes, director of brand sales at C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., said in the release the group acted as a catalyst to spark the discussion for and against the promotion board but the ultimate responsibility lies with those who would be assessed.

 â€œOur industry survey over the summer highlighted some of the concerns on both sides of the issue. PBH’s executive committee believes that only those most affected by such a promotion board can truly decide what is in their best interest moving forward,” he said in the release.

Klutes said some industry leaders want to continue the conversation but he did not say who those individuals or groups might be.

“If they come together to do so, it will be at their own initiative and without direct PBH involvement or sponsorship,” he said in the release.

Klutes and PBH president Elizabeth Pivonka could not immediately be reached after the group announced the decision Nov. 4.

The proposal, first outlined in the PBH’s annual meeting in Monterey, Calif., on April 3, was designed to increase consumption of all forms of fruits and vegetables through assessments totaling $30 million. Assessments would be collected from first handlers through a 0.046 percent assessment (less than 1/20 of 1%) of the f.o.b. value of fresh and processed, domestic and imported fruits and vegetables.

Klutes said PBH is still determined about its mission to promote fruits and vegetables, and said PBH is finding new and effective ways to promote the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters message.

One of the major initiatives in 2010, he said in the release, is to get doctors, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies to communicate the benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables.